St. Louis Theatre: Powell Hall: Home of the symphony

St. Louis Symphony’s Powell Hall is known for its tremendous acoustics, beautiful foyer and dramatic performances. This fall season, Powell Hall, located north of campus at 718 Grand Blvd., is offering a large variety of shows, aiming to combine music as well as dance.

In 1925, when the theater first opened, it was known as the St. Louis Theatre. It underwent a $2 million renovation and reopened on Jan. 24, 1968. The name was then changed to Powell Symphony Hall, which has been the name ever since. Powell Hall has a total of 2,689 seats since its renovation.

During the Hall’s renovation, architectural and acoustical specialists focused specifically on how to improve exits, service facilities and the setup of the hall.  Powell Hall aims to portray European elegance. The renovators modeled the red, gold and cream color scheme after the Royal Chapel at Versailles. The stained glass windows in the front of the Hall show images of Saint Louis IX, the King of France.

In the 1980s, some of the major theaters around Powell Hall underwent renovations of their own. These changes eventually evolved into the Grand Center Redevelopment Project, a multi-million-dollar effort to improve the arts area of the city. During this time, Powell Hall was used as a model for the other renovations in the neighborhood. Powell Hall entered in the National Register of Historic Places in 2001. The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra (SLSO) was founded in 1880, and it is currently in its 132nd season. The Symphony aims to captivate audiences with their music, believing that great music should be available to everyone.

The SLSO has completed many outreach programs for the community.  Each year, the musicians take part in nearly 250 free events and performances to bring their music to a wider audience.  One of the programs includes the E. Desmond Lee Fine Arts Education Collaborative, a partnership with the University of Missouri- St. Louis, Opera Theatre of St. Louis and the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts.

The Symphony also helped out many schools in surrounding areas, and puts effort into making sure schools have interaction with musicians and artists. The SLSO offers student tickets for only $10 in advance.  Some orchestral performances coming up include Igor Stravinsky’s ballets “Petrushka,” “Les Noces” and “The Rite of Spring” on Sept. 16 and 17, and Maurice Ravel’s “Daphnis and Chloe” on Nov. 4 and 5.

Powell Hall does not just offer orchestral shows, though. This season, they are presenting the “Live at Powell” series, where the SLSO plays music ranging from Bugs Bunny on Sept. 10 and 11, to collaboration with singer-songwriter Ben Folds on Nov. 9, to music from John Williams on Dec. 29 and 30.  When Powell Hall schedules concerts, it makes sure the performances are appealing to a large range of audiences, so everyone will feel welcome and find a show that they want to come check out.

To find out more information about Powell Hall or SLSO, visit

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